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A humanitarian response to this crisis in Gaza is vital: UK statement at the UN General Assembly

Thank you, President.

And I’d like to start by thanking the United Nations, particularly today’s briefers, and all the humanitarians for their truly heroic efforts. And I extend again my condolences to the UN family and the families of those 103 staff members in Gaza who have lost their lives in the past six weeks.

President, as I said in the Security Council on Wednesday, it is impossible to comprehend the pain and loss that civilians are enduring in this conflict. Too many civilians are losing their lives and the protection of civilians and alleviating suffering is the top priority for the UK.

This is why we strongly welcomed the passage of the Security Council’s humanitarian resolution this week. This calls for a humanitarian pause for a period of days for long enough to get lifesaving aid to those who need it. This will establish a safer environment for humanitarians, and support urgent efforts to secure the immediate and safe release of all hostages.  

We must now turn these words into action.

The UK is committed to the urgent implementation of this resolution, in particular in three areas.

Firstly, we are working with our partners to provide and to get lifesaving items into Gaza. This includes food, water, medical supplies and crucially, fuel. The priority must be for Israel to allow sufficient fuel into Gaza so that humanitarian operations can run unimpeded and so hospitals and desalination plants can operate.

Secondly, we are supporting efforts to scale up the response. We are urging, and I urge again here today, that the priority must be improved land access, including at Kerem Shalom, as well as scaled-up access at Rafah, so aid can reach the levels needed.

Third, we remain clear that both sides must comply with international humanitarian law and take every possible step to minimise harm to civilians. That includes respecting the sanctity of hospitals so that healthcare professionals can care for the sick and injured.

President, a humanitarian response to this crisis is vital. But our responsibility does not end there. We will redouble our efforts, with our partners, to create a new political horizon to deliver on the promise of peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians, and make the two-state solution a reality.

I thank you.

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